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IMVU: 3D Avatar Creator & Chat
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
IMVU: 3D AVATAR CREATOR AND CHAT is a freemium social networking app that lets you create a sexy 3D digital representation of yourself and use it to communicate with strangers online. Character creation lets you choose your gender and assign attributes like skin, hair, and eye color. Then you can choose an outfit. After that, a main menu suggests a range of activities: chatting, searching for friends, exploring the app's feed, earning currency, or shopping for more items. Photo tools let you take 2D or 3D pictures of your avatar (the latter lets you move the camera around your avatar and change its pose) and post to your feed. Other users can then follow you as well as “like” and comment on your posts. You can also explore the public rooms other users have created and join them, or you can create your own.
Live group chat happens within user-created 3D chat rooms that show your avatar within the environment, or one-on-one chat happens through the app's matchmaking “Coffee Shop.” Users are encouraged to buy items with currency purchased with real-world cash, or earned by completing marketing surveys. The in-app shop contains virtual items by designers like Fendi, Juicy, Gucci, and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as ads for real-world clothing lines and other products. VIP members can pay to remove ads and are allowed to create their own chat rooms and earn in-app currency or real-world money by creating clothing items and selling them within the app.
Is it any good?
While it's fairly common for people to misrepresent themselves online, this app makes it universal while also pushing sexy content and purchases. To begin with, avatars are customizable in only the most limited sense. Though you can choose from a wide range of hairstyles and clothing items, everyone ends up represented by male and female avatars that are sexy exaggerations of the masculine and feminine. The men all have big pecs and taut six-packs, and the women all have big busts and even bigger backsides. Both genders have model-like good looks. These super-human attributes are emphasized further by the clothing items available for purchase in the in-app shop. Feminine clothing items in particular are revealing and some feature vulgar expressions (“Immortal a--hole”) and inappropriate sayings (“I'm a virgin, but this is an old shirt.”) And if your female avatar's not caricaturish enough, you can also purchase an even bigger bustline for her or a pregnant stomach.
This sexy approach on its own is enough to make clear the app's adults-only content, but its chat and photo functions hammer that notion home. User-created chat rooms often invite sexual discussion, and users themselves create crude and vulgar user names. On the visual side, suggestive content abounds in a public feed dominated by avatars shown in sexy outfits and poses. Though the app is well organized and its activities and creative tools are well-executed and entertaining for users over eighteen, the app contains no parental controls and even makes Age Verification a buyable add-on rather than a default setting. Because of this, and because of its suggestive content and insistent commercialism, IMVU: 3D Avatar Creator and Chat is not something people under eighteen should use, and parents should steer kids clear of it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why kids shouldn't use adults-only apps like IMVU: 3D Avatar Creator & Chat. Do your kids understand the risks of representing themselves as adults online?
Think about how the media emphasizes sexiness. Do your kids feel the media pressures them to be sexy? How so? How do we resist that pressure?
Discuss how standards of beauty affect self-esteem. How can we feel positively about our appearance even if we don't fit the stereotypes?
For kids who love social networking and creativity
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.